Institutional interdependence - the structural effects of institutional overlap between NATO and the EU on military cooperation within the EU
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In an increasingly institutionalised world, it is vital that scholars take into account all decisive factors in the development of institutions. One such important factor is the increasing density and therefore the overlap between institutions. There is a variety of literature in International Relations on the effects of institutions and, more specifically, of institutional overlap on actors and their behaviour. However, the structural effects of institutional overlap on institutions, i.e. the inducement of change in their design, membership, mandate or resources, have never been explored. This thesis thus aims at addressing this gap in the literature and at furthering our understanding of how and why international organisations develop and evolve. Therefore, the concept of ‘institutional interdependence’ is introduced in order to capture the structural effects of institutional overlap on international organisations. Institutional interdependence refers to the idea that overlapping institutions become intertwined, and therefore change in one institution can induce change on the structural level in another one. The case of institutional overlap between NATO and the EU’s military cooperation is used as an illustrative case study to demonstrate the analytical utility of the concept of institutional interdependence. It is a compelling case study for the preliminary illustration of the concept because NATO and the EU are the two regional organisations with the highest degree of institutional overlap, which is the precondition for institutional interdependence. The study investigates the developments of EU military cooperation over three in-case observations, identifying the impact of overlap with NATO on each of these observations, using process tracing. The thesis therefore relies on a combination of primary and secondary sources and finds that at in each of these observations, namely the founding of the ESDP, the signing of the Lisbon Treaty and the founding of PeSCo, preceding (perceived) changes in NATO played a role for the choice of arena as well as for the timing of reforms.